It rarely happens that a movie has a lot to offer apart from what is shown in its trailer and teaser. This however, stands true for the film Interstellar directed by Christopher Nolan and co-written by his brother Jonathan Nolan. The film is a stunning, visually gripping and tripping (not the usual tripping from stimulants) form of artwork. The film’s narrative is structured around how they struggle with basic necessities in life, and as larger allegory, something we might experience in the upcoming era; if we continue to ignore the warnings regarding climate change from our environmental agencies and scientists.
The Province of Tesseract and the 5th Dimension
What Interstellar tried to showcase were many aspects of reality and science fiction. One of the most mesmerizing sequences from the film is when Cooper is stuck in a tesseract after being thrown out of his spaceship; it’s a weird, dingy space with each moment of his life suspended and unrolled beneath him in detail. Cooper manipulates the past from the present to signal (transmits Morse code!) his daughter Murph to not allow him to go on the journey. What an emotional moment where Cooper had no idea that it was him from the future that wanted to stop him in the present from going on this high-risk journey.
Imagine seeing our own life in such a way where present, past, and future are right there in front of us. It can definitely blow our mind as that is what certain scientists are speculating what a 5th dimension could look like.
Imagine seeing our own life in such a way where present, past, and future are right there in front of us. It can definitely blow our mind as that is what certain scientists are speculating what a 5th dimension could look like. Especially Carl Sagan, who goes deep in his series Cosmos and explains the workings of a tesseract along with fourth and fifth dimensions. Taking it literally in another sense, it means what we were in our childhood, what we will be, and what we are right now depends upon choices and circumstances and how we dealt personally with our actions and reactions in the past. Certain spiritual and metaphysical schools do emphasize the importance of how our reaction, perception, and belief structure from the past, designs our lives in the future. Although it is a matter of personal experience and experiments to how much truth it holds. Christopher Nolan seems to believe in those teachings as he very subtly tries to showcase that in both Interstellar and his film Inception. Particularly in how the moldable nature of time might impact our lives.
A Distinctive Black Hole Theory
Another important aspect shown in the film are black holes. The dictionary defines a black hole as a region of space having a gravitational field so intense that no matter or radiation can escape. Imagine what exactly that point could be? In the movie when Cooper and the spaceship travel through the black hole a kind of jarring effect occurs: Everything shakes, trembles, and Dr. Brand (played by Anne Hathaway) feels the hand of Cooper from the future. Truly this point, wherever it exists, can easily absorb and consume entire galaxies. But where do those galaxies disappear to? If the black hole consumes them, then what exactly happens in that process? For simplicity let us take an example of eating food. We know that the food we eat and consume is digested and transformed into energy (in short fuel for the body), and the remaining stuff is expelled out in the form of waste. A part of that energy is used for bodily movements and a part goes into the brain, in the form of psychic energy.
Now assuming the black hole consumes the galaxies, then it probably converts the galaxy into another form of energy. What could be converted or transformed from a galaxy to a different energy form? As we know, a system of millions or billions of stars held together by gravitational attraction is known as a galaxy. So, in short, the entire psychic and physical power of billions of stars gets converted into another energy form and, maybe let us assume, the converted form exits out of the other side of the black hole. So what happens to that newly converted energy form? Is that the moment when another universe or galaxy is born? Or emerges with higher psychic power? Or say an advanced civilization? For a simple explanation let us think that the food we eat gives us the energy to think and from that same energy an artist creates various art forms. Similarly, the galaxy might use the mass of that immense energy for certain creative aspects and come up with a form of an advanced civilization (creative evolution?) of the universe on the other side of the black hole.
… we don’t really know how many layers of dreams we can be conscious of, but again connecting it with the tesseract sequence, it implies that certain aspects of our own being (or another being?) control layers or composites of our own life.
What is more interesting in this parsing of the interpretive gist of the subject, is the natural flair of Christopher Nolan and his brother Jonathan Nolan. Jonathan Nolan has proved his writing abilities and skills by showcasing such mind-boggling topics and ideas in films like the Dark Knight series, Momento, The Prestige, Person Of Interest, and Westworld. Westworld focuses on another major aspect of Science Fiction that some higher level beings control and make humans play this game of life on earth. How comparable it is to the tesseract sequence in Interstellar! Christopher Nolan touched a very deep aspect of the world of dreams and lucid dreaming in his movie Inception. Well, we don’t really know how many layers of dreams we can be conscious of, but again connecting it with the tesseract sequence, it implies that certain aspects of our own being (or another being?) control layers or composites of our own life.
Interconnection of Tibetan Teachings and 2001: A Space Odyssey
The tesseract sequence in a different way bears resemblance to the Bardo stage in Tibetan teachings too. Bardo means a stage after death and rebirth, i.e. the intermediate stage. According to Tibetan spiritual teachings, a person can choose his next life or is automatically given a specific life based on the reactions, habits, and actions they had throughout their past life. They say that the selection of next life happens in a Bardo Stage. However, Christopher Nolan is also influenced by Stanley Kubrick and the vortex effect of 2001: A Space Odyssey film. In that sequence, Dr. Bowman (played by Keri Dullea) goes into a vortex where he sees the universe unfolding, certain queer cosmic phenomena, and multicolored lights coming out in front of him. In the book ‘American Book of the Dead’ written by American artist E.J. Gold, and ‘Tibetan Book of the Dead’ by Tibetan Master Padmasambhava, the description of the visual phenomena in various Bardo Stages is somewhat similar to the vortex sequence from 2001: A Space Odyssey and also the tesseract sequence from Interstellar. Albeit, it is a matter of speculation of how much the connection of what we are trying to compare holds true!
Nevertheless, it truly shows the ingenious minds of the Nolan brothers by showcasing such complex ideas in a subtle and simple way in the film. Not only that, but even the concept of faith and love are illustrated in a dramatic manner.
Interstellar is definitely a spectacle in the world of films and will surely stand as a paragon of a unique blend of science fiction and reality.